• Leo Getz & Timbaland Have Figured It Out

    Posted by on March 31st, 2010 · Comments (0)

    Wow. Maybe it’s true? Carry-out is the better option over the Drive-thru…


    The Early Hughes Plan

    Posted by on March 31st, 2010 · Comments (24)

    Via Bryan Hoch

    Phil Hughes may be breaking camp as the Yankees’ fifth starter, but the right-hander can’t bid farewell to spring just yet.

    With several off-days reducing the need for his services early in the year, the Yankees have decided that Hughes’ first start will be on April 15 against the Angels in New York. Until then, he will be on the club’s active roster and pitch in a pair of extended spring games in Tampa.

    “It gives me time to work on some more things — basically like two extra spring starts,” Hughes said. “It’ll be fine. I’m looking forward to the 15th. It’s the first step of this year, and I’m looking forward to starting off well and keeping it going.”

    Hughes, 23, said that the decisions were what he expected and not a surprise. Hughes is slated to pitch his first extended spring game on Monday and then join the Yankees in Boston for the second and third games of the season.

    He’ll then take the team charter back to Tampa, hurling another extended spring game on April 10 — a contest that will occur while the Yankees visit the Rays at Tropicana Field — before he flies north with the club to New York.

    Tampa to Boston to Tampa to New York in a span of about 8 days – instead of doing it in a span of about 11 days. That’s no biggie. It’s basically the same dance up and down the coast as the rest of the team will be doing in about the same time. It seems like the right thing to do here.

    Greatest/Favorite Yankees Tournament – Div III, Round I – Results

    Posted by on March 31st, 2010 · Comments (1)

    Here are the winners – in bold:

    Mickey Mantle 100.0%
    Fritz Peterson 0.0%

    Allie Reynolds 36.0%
    Tony Lazzeri 64.0%

    Roy White 51.8%
    Bill Skowron 48.2%

    Lefty Gomez 100.0%
    Carl Mays 0.0%

    Dave Winfield 69.8%
    Bob Meusel 30.2%

    Goose Gossage 91.8%
    Bob Shawkey 8.2%

    Phil Rizzuto 69.8%
    Mike Mussina 30.2%

    Yogi Berra 100.0%
    Johnny Murphy 0.0%

    Don’t forget that we still have these contests in play:

    Greatest/Favorite Yankees Tournament – Div IV, Round I
    Greatest/Favorite Yankees Tournament – Div I, Round II

    Bumpity Bump Bump

    Posted by on March 31st, 2010 · Comments (0)

    With Opening Day just 4 days away, I would love to see how the Was Watching community thinks some Yankee players will do this season.  Last week I posted a Community Projection thread.  It is now fairly low on the site, so I figured I would bump it up again to see if more people would like to contribute.

    I am specifically wondering about Hughes, Vazquez, Granderson, and Johnson.

    For the pitchers: games, games started, innings pitched, runs, earned runs, hits, home runs, walks, strike outs, hits by pitch, wins, and losses

    For the batters: games, at bats, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, walks, strike outs, hits by pitch



    And, You Thought The Joba Rules Were Silly

    Posted by on March 31st, 2010 · Comments (0)

    Seems that Paris Hilton’s lap dog Tinkerbell has a rougher existence than Jose Reyes…according to some Mets players.

    Bloggers Weigh In On Yanks @ Times Blog

    Posted by on March 31st, 2010 · Comments (2)

    If you don’t check the TimesBats Blog everyday…and, if not, why aren’t you?…anyway, in case you missed it there today, myself and some fellow Yankees bloggers were asked to share some thoughts on the Yankees 2010 season. Click here to check it out.

    My thanks to Justin Sablich for asking me to be a part of this Q&A session.

    ‘Sado Putting In The Work

    Posted by on March 31st, 2010 · Comments (21)

    Via Joel Sherman

    In fact, if you think you saw [Jorge] Posada bicycling around the Fisher Island region this winter, you probably did. The relocation from Manhattan to Florida was designed to allow Posada to take parts of his conditioning outdoors. And two or three times a week, he and Yankees strength and conditioning coordinator Dana Cavalea — whom Posada has used as a personal trainer in each of the last three offseasons — endured 50-mile bike rides through the streets and over the bridges of Miami.

    Posada pedaled against age and history, the coming avalanche of Yankees catching prospects and the evils done by the most merciless job in this sport.

    “He loves baseball and he wants to play as long as possible,” Cavalea said.

    So aside from his Tour de Miami jaunts, the hard working Posada worked harder than ever at age 38. He put in 3 1⁄2-hour session five days a week beginning on Dec. 1. The results are less weight (down to 210 pounds) and body fat, and greater strength. Yankees bench coach Tony Pena, who caught until he was 40, thinks Posada “looks 30.”

    So he pedals. Because the past is an ugly history lesson. Last year Posada hit 22 homers in his age-37 season. So did Mike Piazza in 2006. Piazza never caught another inning, hit eight homers in 2007 and retired. With catchers, it can go quickly.

    Besides Posada and Piazza, Carlton Fisk is the only other catcher 37 or older to reach 20 homers, doing it twice. In fact, with Posada now 38, here is the entire list of catchers 38 or older with more than 12 homers in a season: Fisk, who did it six times. Fisk and Bob Boone are the only catchers in major league history to show consistent year-after-year durability in their late-30s.

    Posada has the great pedaling work ethic to try to join that list. And you don’t make it this far without favorable genetics and steely pride. He also was a middle infielder through his first professional season in 1991. So the squatting wear and tear on his legs does not go back into his amateur days.

    Still, he has caught in 1,490 regular-season games, plus another 110 in the postseason — or the equivalent the Yankees hope Posada can provide in 2010. The last catcher 38-or-older to start 110 or more games was two decades ago, when the 42-year-old Fisk started 112 games for the 1990 White Sox.

    Great to hear. Still, no matter how hard you work, and how great shape you’re in, when you’re older, it’s easier to get hurt – and it takes longer for the hurt to go away. And, that’s the biggest thing that Posada will have to deal with…and hope to avoid.

    Add on: Is Jorge Posada a future Hall-of-Famer?

    Greatest/Favorite Yankees Tournament – Div I, Round II

    Posted by on March 31st, 2010 · Comments (0)

    Click here for more on what this is about.

    And, click here to make your picks.

    Have fun – pick your favorites or pick who you thought was a better Yankee. It’s your choice. And, feel free to use the comments section here to discuss and debate the match-ups and your picks.

    Greatest/Favorite Yankees Tournament – Div II, Round I – Results

    Posted by on March 30th, 2010 · Comments (7)

    Here are the winners – in bold:

    Lou Gehrig 100.0%
    Tom Tresh 0.0%

    Dave Righetti 52.7%
    Tommy Henrich 47.3%

    Bobby Murcer 60.9%
    Graig Nettles 39.1%

    Reggie Jackson 93.3%
    Russ Ford 6.7%

    Andy Pettitte 96.7%
    George Selkirk 3.3%

    Don Mattingly 97.8%
    Urban Shocker 2.2%

    Charlie Keller 55.4%
    Roger Clemens 44.6%

    Derek Jeter 98.9%
    Hideki Matsui 1.1%

    Don’t forget that we still have these contests in play:

    Greatest/Favorite Yankees Tournament – Div III, Round I
    Greatest/Favorite Yankees Tournament – Div IV, Round I

    Better Than Racing A Pregnant Woman

    Posted by on March 30th, 2010 · Comments (4)

    …and coming in third.

    An interesting comment on Phil Hughes…via Jon Heyman

    Asked how Phil Hughes did this spring, one Yankees person said, “Not bad for the guy who came in third” in the competition for the No. 5 starter. Some Yankees people believe Alfredo Aceves and Sergio Mitre actually outpitched both Hughes and Joba Chamberlain. But Hughes was the correct choice for the rotation. Long-term, he’ll be the best of the group. Joba will be the set-man, although the Yankees aren’t admitting that yet.

    Outpitched by Sergio Mitre? Now, is that an oxymoron or what?

    Josh Beckett

    Posted by on March 30th, 2010 · Comments (10)

    I saw this from Peter Abraham the other day –

    ESPN/Boston is reporting tonight that the Red Sox will not offer Josh Beckett more than a four-year extension on his contract.

    Considering that Beckett is already signed for 2010, that was likely the case all along. Signing him to a five-year deal would create a six-year commitment and that is a lot for any pitcher.

    The five-year, $82.5 million deals given to A.J. Burnett and John Lackey came when they were free agents. Beckett is not yet a free agent, but he still could command the same average annual value of $16.5 million for an extension.

    A four-year extension worth $66 million would put Beckett in the same neighborhood.

    If the Red Sox let Beckett walk – and if Andy Pettitte retires and Phil Hughes flops as a starting pitcher this season – would the Yankees be interested in him as a free agent?

    Javy Vazquez will be a free agent. If he leaves New York, and if Pettitte is gone and Hughes is a bust, that all could leave the Yankees with just CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett as “brand names” in their rotation. This would mean New York would need another starting pitcher in 2011…no?

    I realize that most Yankees fans probably expect the team to go after Cliff Lee – who will also be a free agent after this season. And, if I had my choice between the two, I would take Lee over Beckett. But, what if that choice is not there?

    As a Yankees fan, how would you feel if New York signed Josh Beckett to a five-year, $82.5 million, deal at the end of 2010?

    Running Through Rivera On A Rainy Day

    Posted by on March 30th, 2010 · Comments (6)

    Mariano Rivera will be 41-years old at the end of this year. And, he will be a free agent. Here are the last two deals that Rivera signed with the Yankees:

    Current contract: Three years (2008-2010) at $15 million per season with a no-trade clause.

    Previous contract: Three years (2005-2007) at $10.5 million per season. (Last year was a club option that became guaranteed in 2006 due to performance clauses.)

    For the last five years or so, the Yankees have been slightly lightening Mo’s workload:

    Year Age G GF SV IP BF
    2004 34 74 69 53 78.2 316
    2005 35 71 67 43 78.1 306
    2006 36 63 59 34 75.0 293
    2007 37 67 59 30 71.1 295
    2008 38 64 60 39 70.2 259
    2009 39 66 55 44 66.1 257
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 3/30/2010.


    This all said – if you’re the Yankees, what kind of offer to you make Mariano at the end of the season? Given his age, there’s no way you make a three-year offer. But, do you offer him two years? If not, would Mo take a one-year deal? I’m thinking he’s probably going to want two years – since this could be his last contract.

    And, what about the money? Do you offer him $15 million a season again? Is that crazy, even for the Yankees, to pay a guy who may pitch in 65 games (in 2011) and only cover 65 innings? And, what happens if the Yankees ask Mo to take a paycut? Would that be an insult?

    Don’t get me wrong…I know this is not a Johnny Damon situation where the Yankees are going to try to nickel and dime the player. But, could it be possible that the talks with Rivera at the end of the season could turn ugly and that 2010 will be Mariano’s last season with the team?

    The Javier Vazquez Question

    Posted by on March 30th, 2010 · Comments (16)

    Via Ed Price today –

    There are two kinds of ex-Yankees.

    Those of whom Brian Cashman thinks, “Never again.”

    And everyone else.

    While Cashman says he has never specifically thought, “I’d like to bring him back someday,” after a player departs the Bronx, he did just that with three players last winter.

    Cashman signed free agents Nick Johnson and Marcus Thames, one-time Yankees prospects traded away in 2003.

    The least popular return of the trio, at least among some Yankees fans, is right-hander Javier Vazquez.

    “I’m looking forward to this year,” [Vazquez] said. “I’ve answered a lot of questions since I’ve been here [about] the past and I just want to look forward. … I feel good and I feel like this is going to be a good opportunity.

    “I’ve had other years where one of the two halves was good or bad. Obviously in New York it gets bigger.”

    Six years ago, Vazquez and Kevin Brown came in to restructure a rotation that had lost Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte to Houston and David Wells to the Padres after winning the AL pennant.

    “It’s a different situation for me because it’s just a different team,” Vazquez said. “We’ve got three horses at the front of the rotation with CC [Sabathia], A.J. [Burnett] and Andy [Pettitte]. I’m thrilled to be part of that rotation.

    “I look at it the same way. Every year when I go out and pitch, I want to help the team every day. I don’t see it as different expectations.”

    In between Bronx tours, Vazquez went to the Diamondbacks, White Sox and Braves.

    “I really didn’t think about if I wanted to come back or not,” he said. “In my mind, I’ve always thought if you go to one place and get traded or something like that, you’re probably not coming back.”

    I can’t wait to see Vazquez’ performance for the Yankees in 2010. I would be shocked if he did not make 30 starts and throw 200 innings. Why? He’s always good for that – check the record. But, I would also be pretty surprised if his ERA this season was below 4.30 and if he won more than 14 games this year. In summary, I expect 30 starts, 200 innings, 14 wins and an ERA of 4.30 from Javy this season. Anything above that would be a bonus and a pleasant surprise. And, anything less than that would be considered a failure – and it should be…based on his overall history.

    Of course, the X-factor here is that it’s his “walk year.” Some guys thrive off that – and some do not. Which will Javy do? That’s anyone’s guess…if you ask me.

    Greatest/Favorite Yankees Tournament – Div IV, Round I

    Posted by on March 30th, 2010 · Comments (9)

    Click here for more on what this is about.

    And, click here to make your picks.

    Have fun – pick your favorites or pick who you thought was a better Yankee. It’s your choice. And, feel free to use the comments section here to discuss and debate the match-ups and your picks.

    That’s Going To Leave A Mark…

    Posted by on March 29th, 2010 · Comments (12)

    …out for a couple of days.

    Mark Teixeira reacts after he was hit by a pitch during the second inning of a spring training game on March 29, 2010. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

    Everyone’s worst nightmare – an injury to a key player in the last week of Spring Training. Hopefully this one is minor, in the end.

    Greatest/Favorite Yankees Tournament – Div I, Round I – Results

    Posted by on March 29th, 2010 · Comments (5)

    Here are the winners – in bold:

    Babe Ruth 96.4%
    Tino Martinez 3.6%

    Spud Chandler 12.2%
    Rickey Henderson 87.8%

    Roger Maris 82.9%
    Hank Bauer 17.1%

    Ron Guidry 100.0%
    Tiny Bonham 0.0%

    Sparky Lyle 72.5%
    Earle Combs 27.5%

    Alex Rodriguez 86.7%
    Orlando Hernandez 13.3%

    Paul O’Neill 94.0%
    Ed Lopat 6.0%

    Mariano Rivera 97.6%
    Jason Giambi 2.4%

    Don’t forget that we still have these contests in play:

    Greatest/Favorite Yankees Tournament – Div II, Round I
    Greatest/Favorite Yankees Tournament – Div III, Round I

    Sean Rodriguez

    Posted by on March 29th, 2010 · Comments (17)

    I caught two seconds of the Rays-Bosox game tonight on the MLB Network – when Sean Rodriguez was at the plate. First time I ever saw him in my life – and, my reaction was “My, goodness, it’s Randy Velarde.” And, that was before I found out that he can play all over the field.

    How do the Rays keep getting all these young and talented players?

    Centurion, Come Out To Play-Yay!

    Posted by on March 29th, 2010 · Comments (0)

    This one looks interesting…in a Warriors Hot Tub Time Machine kinda way…

    What The FedEx Truck Dragged In Today

    Posted by on March 29th, 2010 · Comments (6)

    Funny. I’m not as excited as I normally am on this day.

    Maybe it’s because this is my 10th season as a season ticket holder? But, I doubt it. I think it has more do to with the price of games these days. In any event, this is a nice reminder that the season is just around the corner.

    Some Sights From Spring Training

    Posted by on March 29th, 2010 · Comments (14)

    George M. Steinbrenner field is gorgeous.

    This past Wednesday, I was in Tampa for the game against the Nationals. I had a blast and I must say that the George is a great place to take in a ball game. If you have never been, I would highly recommend it. It must be the class of Single A ballparks. The only thing that deterred from my visit was the fact that rather than show highlights from 2009 of the players, the park displayed images of the players playing from MLB ’10 : The Show. While I hold that franchise of baseball games in high regard, highlights from it do not belong on a scoreboard.

    That is really a small gripe that most people wouldn’t think twice about. Other than that it was an amazing time and while I was there, I took a few pictures and thought I’d share. Keep in mind that I’m a horrible photographer. Pictures after the jump.


    It’s Great To Be With A Wiener

    Posted by on March 29th, 2010 · Comments (15)

    Today, Jayson Stark offers:

    Ingredients for winning require rare mix
    Sometimes it’s easy to see which players and managers have that rare “it”

    Check it out. The sabermetric crowd will hate it. The chemistry professors will love it. And, those in the middle, like me, will find it an interesting read – especially because of who Jayson highlights in the feature.

    Holy Squid!

    Posted by on March 29th, 2010 · Comments (4)

    The following is a true story.

    My family went to the local diner to grab a quick dinner last night. It was me and my wife along with our son and daughter. My son will turn six next month. And, his sister is 22 months older than him.

    While we were waiting for our food, my son was playing around with some rubber bands that are shaped like animals (when not expanded). He got them at school – apparently they’re all the rage. And, that led to this family exchange:

    Son, to his sister: Look, this one is a cow. Here’s the legs and this is where the milk comes from…
    Sister, in reply: Yes, the udder.
    Son: The “other” what?
    Sister: No, the “udder.”
    Son: Yeah, the “other” what?”
    Dad: No. She means where the milk comes from…
    Mom: He knows. He actually milked a cow last year when he went on a school trip to a farm.
    Dad, to son: Dude, you milked a cow?
    Son: Yes.
    Dad: You remember what you did?
    Son: Yeah, we held on to those parts and the milk came out.
    Dad: And, do you remember what those parts were called?
    Son: I’m don’t remember. I think they were the “tentacles”?

    At this point, we all cracked up and then I told him that they were called “udders” and not “others” or “tentacles.”

    I have to give the little guy credit for the Jerry Coleman/Mickey Rivers/Dizzy Dean attempt to sledgehammer a square peg into a round hole on this one. Yogi ain’t got nuttin’ on my boy.

    Do Spring Training Results Matter?

    Posted by on March 29th, 2010 · Comments (4)

    From what I can tell, the answer is a definite maybe.  As Sky Andrecheck writes here and, more extensively, here, there may be some correlation between spring training results and what happens in the regular season.

    In 2009, PECOTA projected the Yanks as a 96-win team.  After dominating the exhibition season in Florida, the Yanks ended up winning 103 games and the World Series.  So, what to make of the ballclub’s uneven performance thus far in Spring Training?  Coupled with a more pessimistic PECOTA outlook for 2010, does it matter that the Yankees have looked underwhelming in March?  Should we be worried?  Do we take comfort in the fact that Boston has looked just as iffy?

    To be perfectly frank, I don’t think the research is conclusive enough to make a claim one way or the other.  In any case, let’s just hope that the 2010 season ends up looking like the 2009 season, even if our Grapefruit League standings look much, much different.

    Granderson Has Stake In Chitown’s “The Fifty/50”

    Posted by on March 29th, 2010 · Comments (2)

    Via About Last Night

    The Dallas Cowboys’ Tony Romo has been known to visit it when he’s in town, the New York Yankees’ Curtis Granderson is an investor in it and Pierre Thomas of the Super Bowl-winning New Orleans Saints calls it his favorite Chicago bar, but that doesn’t mean The Fifty/50 (2047 W. Division St.) in Ukrainian Village is the type of place where people go to stalk and gawk at athletes.

    And that, according to Thomas, is one of the reasons the three-floor sports bar has become a magnet for pro jocks.

    “You don’t get bombarded there if you’re an athlete as much as you would at other places,” said Thomas, whose touchdown gave the Saints its first lead in the Super Bowl, by phone from New Orleans on Saturday. “The people who go there go a lot and they’re people who respect athletes’ privacy.”

    Granderson, a Blue Island, Ill. native, is a regular (in the offseason), as are the Cubs’ Derrek Lee and Chicago Blackhawks players, who had their team Halloween party there. Thomas doesn’t go as much as he’d like seeing how he lives in New Orleans, but he’ll be in Chicago soon (he’s throwing out the first pitch at the White Sox game on April 8th) and may throw a party at the bar.

    I wonder if Curtis will invite some of this new Yankees teammates there when the team makes their next road trip to play the White Sox?

    March 2010 Survey Question #2

    Posted by on March 29th, 2010 · Comments (4)

    Please consider taking the following poll:


    Thanks in advance. And, please feel free to add comments on your opinion in the comments section below.

    Well, Isn’t This Special?

    Posted by on March 29th, 2010 · Comments (17)

    Brian Cashman and Johnny Damon have kissed and made up. Via Joel Sherman

    Johnny Damon and GM Brian Cashman met for about 10 minutes behind the batting cage yesterday, their first face-to-face since Damon’s contentious divorce from the Yankees.

    Both men refused to divulge the content of the conversation. But both expressed appreciation that they were able to talk. During the conversation, each appeared amiable — often smiling — and the two parted with a hug.

    “I just hope what is remembered is that I was proud to bring him here and that he was a huge part of how the roster was built, how the team played and succeeded, and how the clubhouse came together,” Cashman said. “He’s a great guy. I am glad we had a chance to visit.”

    “Everything is good now,” Damon said. “No problems.”

    For what it’s worth, I thought it was a very classy move of the fans at Steinbrenner Field to give Damon a standing-oh during his first plate appearance yesterday. And, I hope he gets the same when he returns to the Bronx, for the first time, this season.

    The Bill James Gold Mine 2010

    Posted by on March 28th, 2010 · Comments (0)

    In the last five weeks, I’ve mentioned The Bill James Gold Mine 2010 a few times in various entries. (See: here, and here, and here, and here.) And, I expect that I’ll be mentioning it a few work times in the upcoming weeks – at the least.

    As you may recall, I’ve been a fan of The Bill James Gold Mine annuals in the past. (See: here and here.) And, I’ve found this year’s edition to be right in line with the ones from the preceeding two years – it terms of quality and value.

    Basically, the book is a collection of select James’ articles posted to Bill James Online from the past year along with awesome “nugget” collections of facts and stats for each major league team. These “nuggets” were put together by folks like John Dewan, Mike Webber, Mat Olkin, Dave Studenmund, Charles Fiore, Ben Jedlovec, Steve Moyer, Damon Lichtenwalner, Jon Vresics, and Rob Burckhard. However, that said, James takes responsibility for these “nuggets” – because, as Bill writes “I am responsible for them, in the sense that if there is something amiss, that would be my responsibility.”

    It’s all great stuff. And, as stated herein, I expect to be referencing the book fairly often at the blog this year.

    In the past, I’ve shared that The Bill James Gold Mine is the type of baseball book that’s so much fun, and enlightening, that you’ll want to re-read it, again, the minute you finish reading it for the first time. And, there’s a good chance that you’ll want to read it a third time after that – as there’s so much good stuff in it. And, I can think of no better way to describe The Bill James Gold Mine 2010. I highly recommend this book.

    More Role Flip-Flopping In The Future?

    Posted by on March 28th, 2010 · Comments (5)

    While responding to Jeteupthemiddle Allie’s Community Projections post, I was thinking about Phil Hughes and how the Yankees are going to manage his innings limit since he only threw 105 and a third innings this past season. According to Tom Verducci’s rule, any young pitcher that increases their innings told by more than 30 innings is at a higher risk of injury the year after. If the Yankees use Hughes like they did Chamberlain last year, then that limit is a soft number.  So if you factor that in, that puts Hughes only hurling around 150 innings.

    So, that got me thinking. What if there is a plan somewhere in the mess they’ve created? For now, Hughes is in the rotation and Chamberlain is in the bullpen. With that, there is a side benefit of humbling Chamberlain, as well as the fact that perhaps they are going to use it to build Joba’s arm strength in a different way.

    In 2008, when Joba transitioned from the bullpen to the rotation, he somewhat maintained a greater velocity than when he transitioned from the rotation to the bullpen. He was still the first pumping Joba we had all been wooed by back then. Perhaps going all out in the bullpen during the beginning of 2008 helped him maintain that intensity and arm strengh throughout the year even as a starter, allowing him to throw harder. Conversely, in 2009, he came out of the gate the subdued “professional” Joba. Perhaps he does need to go back to the pen, just to help his starting career and re-gain the Wild Thing. If Hughes and Chamberlain can split their starts 20-12, there are roughly 280 innings to be had amongst a multi-inning bullpen role and a 5th starter spot. If you split them out such that Hughes throws 150 innings and Chamberlain throws 130 innings, both of them would be capable of starting in the 2011 rotation, rein free. If that’s the plan, it sounds like something I could live with.

    Tigers More Than Happy To Have Austin Jackson

    Posted by on March 28th, 2010 · Comments (12)

    Via the Detroit Free Press:

    Austin Jackson’s smile stretched from here to Kansas City.

    He had just left the workout room after Saturday’s game, and a reporter had told him, “Jim Leyland said that today’s lineup will be the Opening Day lineup. That means you’ll be starting the season and your career when you step in to face Zack Greinke.”

    Jackson, 23, was asked to put into words the smile he unfurled when he pondered leading off his career by leading off the season.

    “It’s one of those things you dreamt about forever,” he said.

    Jackson, the one position player obtained in the Curtis Granderson trade, will succeed Granderson at leadoff and in centerfield.

    “I took the trade as motivation,” Jackson said Saturday. “Whether they (the Yankees) traded me because they didn’t think I’d be ready or they wanted Curtis, whatever the reason might be, I took it as an opportunity.

    “I started to train a lot harder because I knew that if I got this opportunity, I was going to take advantage of it,” Jackson said. “I started getting more serious about getting up early and working out. I started eating a lot of better foods to have energy throughout the day. I cut out a lot of fast food. I was in the batting cage a lot more.

    “I studied tape of a lot of good hitters: Manny Ramirez, Miguel Tejada, Alex Rodriguez and a lot of Derek Jeter.

    “I know I’m not going to hit like them, but it’s good to see they all get to a good hitting position. That was the main thing, seeing that they all have similarities when they hit.”

    Spring games indicate that Jackson, a right-handed hitter, has begun to solve his strikeout problem. He fanned once every four at-bats last season in Triple-A. He has struck out once every seven at-bats this spring.

    “He hasn’t swung at bad balls,” Leyland said.

    That’s just one way Jackson has impressed the manager.

    “He’s a very bright kid,” Leyland said. “He’s made a wonderful impression.”

    “Is he going to struggle? Yes,” Leyland said. “He’s going to struggle some like all players do, particularly young ones.

    “He’s the Opening Day centerfielder, and he’s going to lead off, and he’s going to get a good opportunity to break in. I feel real good about it. I’m very impressed. I like him a lot.”

    Could the Austin Jackson for Curtis Granderson swap go down in history as Brian Cashman’s version of Jay Buhner for Ken Phelps? At times, I still find myself having that vibe.

    Yanks Pro Scouting Director: Not Likely That Joba Returns To Rotation In 2011

    Posted by on March 28th, 2010 · Comments (5)

    Evan Roberts (on WFAN) asked Billy Eppler, the Yankees director of pro scouting, yesterday, if it was possible that Joba Chamberlain could compete for rotation spot next year. And, to that question, Eppler answered “I wouldn’t consider that likely.” (H/T TYU.)

    That sort of flies in the face of what Brian Cashman said the other day, no?

    Update: 3/28/10 8:50 pmCashman disagrees with Eppler but defends his right to say it. Pat Borzi has more on this – here.

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